HAYS COUNTY, Texas -- Hays County officials approved a new plan that could cost drivers big bucks if they don't slow down in school zones.

County commissioners have contracted a company which will provide two roving cameras to automatically catch speeders in exchange for a share of the ticketing profits. The cameras would be installed inside an unmanned vehicle and then parked on public property around school zones.

"We're trying to figure out a way to improve public safety, and at the same time, be fiscally responsible," said Will Conley, Hays County commissioner.

Conley said the vehicles would be visibly marked and prominently displayed. They would rove between the following 15 Hays County schools:

  • Hemphill Elementary School
  • Barton Middle School
  • Chapa Middle School
  • Simon Middle School
  • Hays High School
  • Jacob's Well Elementary School
  • St Stephens Episcopal School
  • Scudder Primary School
  • Rooster Springs Elementary School
  • Dripping Springs Middle School
  • Elm Grove Elementary School
  • Carpenter Hill Elementary School
  • Dahlstrom Middle School
  • Pfluger Elementary School

Conley said schools in the unincorporated areas often don't have enough traffic enforcement officers to deter speeders. This could be a low lost solution to that problem. The county does not have to pay for the cameras, or the cars. The agreement means they will share the ticketing profits with the company American Traffic Solutions, on a sliding scale that decreases with time.

Drivers speeding more than six miles above the limit could get a $150 ticket. Conley said there will be a publicity campaign to educate drivers.

Conley said if the pilot program is successful, the county may expand it.

Since the company provides the cars and cameras, Conley said he expects it to be a revenue neutral effort, but any extra money will go back into public safety efforts.

The timeline to roll out the program is still being determined.